Two Sisters Reflect on Growing Up in Ipalamwa
Sharifa and Zajaneth Kavindi are sisters who grew up and married in Ipalamwa, Tanzania. Both are enrolled in the Reaching Children’s Potential (RCP) Demonstration Program, and are grateful to be able to provide a more secure future for their children than what they experienced. They tell their story to Global Volunteers Team Leader Winnie Mshindo.
The sisters’ houses are close to each other, and so are their families. They say they relate to each other very well and share their love and respect for each other by “sharing life’s challenges, and helping each other to raise our children.” Between them, they have five children who are the centers of their lives. The mothers strive to provide their children a better education than they had. Raising eight children on her own, their mother couldn’t provide more than the basics.
“We had great dreams when we were younger. We wanted to become educated people with good jobs so that we could help our whole family, especially our mother, because our father was less concerned about us,” said Sharifa, the elder sister.
“He had many wives,” Zajaneth explained. “So most of the time, he would just put his time and efforts towards his other families. We had a great dream of becoming educated and getting good jobs, but we were not successful because of the financial limitations. Though we did not have much in terms of wealth, we were happy with what we had and moved on.”
Winnie continued the interview:
Both you and your sister expressed your hopes that your children progress far in their studies. Is that something that you and your sister have talked about together?
Zajaneth: Yes, we used to imagine how we wanted our children to be. We always wanted the best for our children and our future families in general. We wanted our children to be very educated and have better jobs in future. And actually the life that we are living now is not the same as the life we used to live when we were younger. Our lives are now better than how we used to live at home.
Sharifa: We hope our children will have a chance to go farther than we did educationally. We used to think of what kinds of husbands we wanted to have. We wanted good men who would show care and be responsible for their families. Thank God this has happened to both of us. Our husbands are so caring, loving, and responsible with our families.
What is one of your favorite memories with your sister?
Sharifa: I remember one day my younger sister, Zajaneth, and I went to work on someone’s farm so that we could get money to help our mother at home. We cleared the farm, which was half an acre and was a lot of work for us to do at our age. I can’t remember exactly how old we were, but we were young. I will never forget that day because that was one of the hardest jobs we have ever done. It is really a memory and I won’t forget it.
Sharifa, you said in your interview that you have learned about love in the RCP workshops. How do you think this has affected your other relationships, such as with your sister and your nieces and nephew?
Sharifa: The workshop on love taught me a lot. Through learning about love, my relationships with people around have improved. It is not like I was not relating well to people before, but this had just added value and allowed me to show the love I have for them. I love my husband and my children and we are all living in peace. I have recognized that it is better to show people you love that you love them. There is power in telling them that you love them rather than remaining quite.
Read Sharifa and Zajaneth’s RCP interviews here:
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